Antonio Conte believes Juventus do not deserve to be out of the UEFA Champions League, following their heartbreaking loss in Istanbul.
The Bianconeri started the campaign as one of the favourites to conquer Europe, and were drawn in a group with Real Madrid, Copenhagen and Galatasaray. And although they had only collected one win from their previous five matches, they would have clinched a place in the knockout stages with a draw away to the latter in the group match.
Due to a snowstorm in the Turkish capital on Tuesday evening the match was postponed after 32 minutes, and restarted at the same point the following afternoon. Although the conditions were far from idea, the match went ahead, and just as it looked as though Juve were heading through, a late Wesley Sneijder goal broke their hearts.
Speaking after the match, Conte offered his opinion that the Serie A champions had been hard done by. The 44-year-old, who won the competition as a player with his current club in 1996, has revealed he thought the match should not have gone ahead on Wednesday, and he claims his opposite number Roberto Mancini also agreed with him.
“We certainly tried to have the game postponed and met with the UEFA delegate beforehand, but nobody wanted to listen. Roberto Mancini said it was dangerous and I agreed with him, I said “I think so.” I don’t think my English is that bad,” the disappointed Juventus coach told Sky Sport Italia after the match.
“At half-time I reiterated to the referee that it was not safe to play in these conditions. We were enormously penalised, as the game resorted to a football brawl. I will say our mistake was to get to the last game and play everything here. With a decent pitch, I am sure we would’ve played our game. We couldn’t have predicted these circumstances, so in my view our exit is unfair, but we also made life difficult for ourselves.”
Juve will now enter the final 32 in the UEFA Europa League, a competition in which they can win on their home ground should they make it to the final.